Citroen is in celebration mood as the French carmaker marks its 100th birthday, a company which has made its mark through a bold and creative approach to car design. I could say that Citroen has reinvented itself with cars such as the C3 and its very latest offering, the C5 Aircross SUV.
The 2019 celebrations could not have started better with a home win on home ground in Monte Carlo in the World Rally Championship and to date they have eight WRC titles as well as three in the World Touring Car Championship.
The new C5 Aircross will breathe freshness into the C SUV segment of the market, one of the most crowded in Europe.
Clearly with the new model there is the opportunity to bring new customers to the brand and when it comes to attracting new buyers there is nothing better than the SUV.
The C5 Aircross Citroen has managed to loose none of the strong personality that buyers have come to appreciate down the years. Just think of the number of Citroen vehicles that have turned heads with their stand out styling.
Thoroughly modern and practical are the key points of this new model for me. Yes we all like our set of wheels to look good and to have a degree of street cred. However for those with active lifestyles or indeed the family motorist, the practical nature of a vehicle is very important.
When it comes to load carrying capacity, this Citroen scores well with its adaptable seating which when you fold the rear seats you are catered for with 1,630 litres. For those longish items we often need to transport, maximum load length is 1.9 metres. It is the most modular vehicle in its class, the three individual adjustable rear seats can be moved forwards and back making for a very adaptable cabin and these seats incline-adjust in five positions and can be removed to form a flat floor thanks to a two level boot floor.
The interior features an array of storage opportunities, no less than 32 litres available throughout the cabin. It never fails to surprise what items people transport, so this will be widely appreciated.
Comfort, no complaints in this area, Citroen always put the max into delivering for all who travel in their vehicles and I really appreciated the high comfort level of the seating.
It was no surprise to discover the cabin is finished to a high level with much attention to technology as in this modern era people like to be connected. Equipped with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the latest 8-inch HD touch screen as standard, the new SUV also features ConnectedCAM Citroen and Wireless Smartphone.
Thankfully for us who live in Ireland, north or south, Citroen as yet have not forsaken the diesel engine and there are three to choose from alongside two petrol options. I had time to try a 130 diesel and 180 petrol; both in top of the line trim levels. However from 2025, all Citroen models will be electric in some form or other.
Returning to the C5 Aircross, transmission choice is an eight speed automatic or a six speed manual, I was able to try both and the changes with the automatic were seamless, while the manual was pleasing in that the changes were slick. Looking at performance, the diesel I tried had 129bhp with rest to 100kph (62mph) coming up in 10.4 seconds and the petrol version I tried had 178bhp and rest to 100kph (62mph) takes 8.2 seconds.
Today, the roads we drive on have become something of a jungle, so safety is paramount and Citroen have given their new SUV an array of safety aids, including Advanced Active Safety Brake, Active Lane Departure Warning and Active Blind Spot Monitoring, all of which are standard equipment.
There is the option of grip control with hill descent control, useful when the going gets rough.
Earlier I noted style, well hand in hand is colour choice and there are 30 colour combinations to choose from and if that is not enough there are three colour packs, all designed to make your C5 Aircross stand out.
This time round, as often is the way with Citroen, I discovered a very practical vehicle, perhaps not dynamic but rewarding to drive vehicle with low noise levels in the cabin and a firmer ride than I usually find from Citroen.